Good-Enough Attribution: Know Where Your Customers Came From


Attribution is a billion dollar marketing problem. When done right, you’ll know where customers are coming from and be able to avoid wasting marketing money.

The problem is that attribution is nowhere near perfect and it likely never will be. The more you spend, the better attribution you can get but it might not be worth the extra cost.

Shooting for good-enough attribution is almost always more profitable.

Good-enough attribution involves two metric sources:

  1. where are people coming from?
  2. where are people first ordering from?

The first is easy online. Just look for the Landing Page in something like Google Analytics. If you can connect that to order amounts, great. If you can’t and only have traffic and bounce rates, that’s good-enough.

For non-online visitors, you’ll have to resort to asking the customer. It’s harder to get a lot of data but the quality will be higher. Try to classify them into standard responses (e.g. friend referral, online ad, paper mailer).

The second metric source involves looking at your orders per sales channel in Shopify but only the first order for each customer. A customer who orders from your POS first and then your online store should give credit to the POS (your physical store) for attracting the customer, not the online store.

(In Repeat Customer Insights this first order attribution is called the Acquisition Source and is a filter in a lot of reports and graphs)

Once you have those two metric sources collecting data, use the sales channel (#2) for your main attribution with the 1st metric source as a way to refine the sales channel. This will tell you something like e.g. your Shopify website is handling many of the orders and from that, a lot of people are coming from Pinterest.

To go beyond good-enough, go through your sales channels and look at the different metrics. Compare AOV, Customer LTV, and other measurements to see which sales channels are sending you your best customers. When I added this to my app I was surprised at the differences between sales channels.

Eric Davis

Use cohorts to find out who the best customers are in your Shopify store

Repeat Customer Insights will automatically group your customers into cohorts based on when they first purchased. This will let you see how the date customers bought would impact their behavior.

Install Repeat Customer Insights for Shopify

This originally appeared on the LittleStream Software Blog and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. Starting in the early 2000s, Steve achieved eBay Power Seller status which propelled him to become a founding partner of, a contact lens and eyewear retailer. Four years later through a successful exit from that startup, he embarked on his next journey into digital strategy for direct-to-consumer brands.

Currently, Steve is a Senior Merchant Success Manager at Shopify, where he helps brands to identify, navigate and accelerate growth online and in-store.

To maintain his competitive edge, Steve also hosts the top-rated twice-weekly podcast eCommerce Fastlane. He interviews Shopify Partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, that assist Shopify-powered brands to improve efficiencies, profitably grow revenue and to build lifetime customer loyalty.

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